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In response to Ed Griffin-Nolan’s “Fracked Again” in the June 9 Syracuse New Times, I offer a different cautionary tale, the one about how New York and its economy may suffer if we don’t take action now to continue natural gas production in our state. While the “documentary” Gasland offers plenty of drama, there are many facts the film doesn’t get right.
To the Point
I would like to compliment Ed Griffin-Nolan for “Rock Opera,” his very even-handed and informative May 26 article about hydrofracking in Central New York.
—Michael Demmon, Manlius
As a local-government watchdog since the 1970s, I battled Warren Frank’s Centro/Central New York Regional Transit Authority (CNYRTA) on its Joe Camel ads, lack of women and minorities on its board, no bus shelters at busy corners and no bus bike racks.
It was tough getting Frank to say “uncle,” since he was AWOL while living in California. In 1992, Centro refused to end the $50,000 yearly Joe Camel bus and shelter ads. After months of lobbying CNYRTA—which was negotiating a long-term tobacco ad—at a Common Council session, I stalled Centro’s $1 million budget grant for busing students to city schools. I then worked on a lawsuit charging Centro with violating its own ad decency rules by accepting tobacco ads. Frank caved in and removed the Camel ads for New York state lottery ads.
Centro eventually added women and minorities to CNYRTA, and bike racks on buses (1999, four years after Rochester), but to this day Centro lacks shelters or benches at busy corners on Westcott Street and Lancaster Avenue and still fails to hold public meetings to hear riders.
—Austin Ted Paulnack,
Coordinator, The Accountability Project, Syracuse
EDITOR’S NOTE: Warren Frank, former executive director of the Syracuse bus system Centro, passed away at age 85 on May 31.
The photo of Tim Green in the Feb. 24 issue of The New Times carrying a student protester out of the Carrier Dome in 1986 characterizes the act as “his last collegiate sack.” It is not so whimsical—he denied a fellow graduate’s right to free speech. The student was asking SU to divest its holdings in companies doing business in apartheid-era South Africa by holding up a sign. You might have added “right wing goon” (oh, and “scab strikebreaker,” too) to the recital of his many roles at the beginning of the caption.
Phil D. Rapper’s Dec. 13 article “Local and Vocal,” concerning WZUN-FM 102.1 (Sunny 102) disc jockey Big Mike Fiss and his annual Big Mike’s Christmastime in Syracuse CD, incorrectly states that the song “Christmastime in Syracuse” was written by Freddy Crittela. The song was co-written (and copyrighted) by Mike Carletta (lyrics) and me (music) in 1985. Mike and I were original members of the Trash Site Blues Band, whose songs—popular tunes with lyrics on local topics written by Freddy Crittela—were broadcast by Mike Fiss when he was with WYYY-FM 94. 5 (Y94). We even did his theme song, “Big Mike in the Morning.”
Anyway, I agree that the tune is “the gooiest love letter this burg has ever received,” but nevertheless the record should accurately reflect who is responsible for that goo!
PHIL D. RAPPER REPLIES: Sorry about the snafu, but that misinformation came directly from Big Mike Fiss’ Nov. 22 posting on the Sunny Spot’s blog.
Will President Barack Obama’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize have any effect on his performance in the future? The Nobel Committee advised that it was “restoring the United States' role as an active and respected partner in world affairs.” In other words, it was based on Obama’s aspirations: renouncing torture, vowing to shutter Guantanamo Bay, ridding the world of nuclear weapons and reaching out to the Muslim world.
Big health insurance companies are spending $641,000 a day to oppose reform from behind the scenes, by making political payoffs and financing phony anti-reform grass roots (Astroturf) movements, profiting by keeping the system as it is. They deny claims and raise premiums, copays and deductibles at will and deny care because of pre-existing conditions. In some cases, they are literally deciding who lives and who dies by making approval of needed treatment dependent on what is more profitable for their company, not what is best for their policy holders.